Current Issue

STEM Education News

January 29, 2015

In This Issue:

Microsoft and Advocates Discuss STEM and the Arts in Early Learning

Last week, Microsoft hosted a panel discussion, “Preparing the Next Generation for 21st Century Jobs:  Investing in STEM through Early Learning and the Arts.”  Robin Thurman, deputy director of ReadyNation, began the discussion by laying the foundation for the importance of early learning on a child’s brain development, noting that 90 percent of human brain growth occurs by age 5 correlating to achievement gaps occurring as early as the age of two.  She emphasized that stimulating a child’s brain early on creates more neuron development, which allows children to learn quicker and often leads to improved achievement test scores, a decreased need for special education classes and grade repetition, and growing education attainment.

Akua Kouate, senior director of education at the Wolf Trap Foundation, put Thurman’s facts into practice by outlining Wolf Trap’s early learning research on the effects of teaching math—and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects—through early art integration courses.  The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts’ Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts was awarded a U.S. Department of Education Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination grant to study teacher professional growth and student learning outcomes in mathematics through performing arts.  The study found that early STEM/Arts education improves the average student’s math scores by eight percentile points.

Aleta Margolis, founder and executive director of Center for Inspired Teaching, followed Kouate’s remarks by asserting the important role that effective teachers play in a student’s learning.  Through the Center for Inspired Teaching’s 4 I’s model—to build students’ intellect, inquiry, imagination and integrity—Margolis wants to raise the teaching profession from “information providers to instigators of thought.”  For more information about the Center for Inspired Teaching, go to: www.inspiredteaching.org/about/our-model and for information about ReadyNation, go to: www.readynation.org/about-us/overview-mission/. Find out about other upcoming STEM events at www.trianglecoalition.org/calendar.

Library of Congress Accepting Summer Teacher Institute Applications: Primary Sources in Science

The application for the Library of Congress Summer Teacher Institute for Primary Sources in Science is now available. This week-long professional development opportunity, taking place July 20-24, 2015, is designed for K-12 educators who teach science or collaborate with science teachers.

In the Science Institute, participants will explore the benefits of using historical primary sources in the science classroom, particularly around the nature of science, the practices of scientists, and the relationship between science and society. Participants will build skills in teaching effectively with photographs, manuscripts, drawings, maps, and other formats from the Library’s collections.

The program will include model classroom activities, as well as opportunities to conduct original research, learn from peers, and work side by side with Library curators, experts, and education specialists. By the end of the week, each participant will have drafted a primary-source based learning activity that drives student engagement, critical thinking, and construction of knowledge.

Tuition and materials are provided at no cost. Participants will be responsible for transportation to and from Washington, D.C., and any required overnight accommodations. Applications are due March 24th and require a letter of recommendation.

Read more and apply now: www.loc.gov/teachers/professionaldevelopment/teacherinstitute/

Member News
ITEEA Named as Partner in 100Kin10, National Network to Grow STEM Teaching Force

The International Technology and Engineering Educators Association commits to advancing the goal of recruiting, preparing, and retaining 100,000 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers by 2021.

(ITEEA, 1/28/15) – ITEEA announced today that it has been accepted as a partner of 100Kin10, a multi-sector network fueling the next generation of innovators and problem solvers by providing America’s classrooms with 100,000 excellent science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers by 2021.

ITEEA President, James Boe, DTE, commented: “ITEEA is thrilled to join in on this exciting STEM initiative. It is our goal to share how teaching Technology and Engineering Brings STEM to Life!”

As part of 100Kin10, ITEEA will work to recruit and retain outstanding STEM educators, specifically in the technology and engineering education field. ITEEA will also address the need to encourage more females and minorities into teaching technology and engineering. The leadership of ITEEA believes that collaborating with other organizations within 100Kin10 will only enhance its efforts to create this vital pool of STEM educators.

More and better-trained STEM teachers are essential to preparing America’s students to fully participate in our democracy and to understand and respond to complex national and global challenges. To compete in the global marketplace and provide opportunity to all young Americans, all students—not just those fortunate enough to attend certain schools—must have basic STEM skills and knowledge. ITEEA is one of the 236 best-in-class 100Kin10 partners that has designed and taken on a specific piece of work to help achieve the goal of 100,000 excellent STEM teachers.

Organizations are accepted as 100Kin10 partners following a rigorous vetting process conducted by a team of partners and other experts in education and in STEM. Reviewers seek organizations with strong leadership, a track record of success at implementation, and a well-designed and innovative commitment to action toward expanding, improving, and retaining the best of the nation’s STEM teaching force, or building the 100Kin10 movement.

A complete list of partners and is also available on the 100Kin10 website.

To support partners in fulfilling their ambitious commitments and working together to spark innovation, 100Kin10 offers access to exclusive opportunities that build capacity, enable collaboration and shared learning to find new solutions and solve joint challenges, and facilitate funding and access to resources. For example:

  • Over 95% of partners shared data about their STEM teaching work—including programmatic priorities, components, and outcomes—in response to a network-wide survey, part of 100Kin10’s growing body of research and learning.
  • Thirty partners took part in 100Kin10’s first foray into partner-driven collective action, co-investing in a teacher recruitment campaign that reached over 50 million on social media.
  • More than 115 partners have received grants in support of their programmatic work, totaling over $53 million through 130+ awards.
  • More than 50 partners applied for and have been awarded over $200,000 in small grants that enable in-person meeting and collaboration to advance their 100Kin10 commitments.

Learn more about Triangle Coalition Member, ITEEA at  http://iteea.org/.

Legislative Update
Senate Committee Hosts ESEA Hearing on Testing and Accountability

Last Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing, “Fixing No Child Left Behind: Testing and Accountability,” to discuss assessment and accountability measures in Chairman Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) recent Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization discussion draft.  In the hearing, Chairman Alexander argued that because the federal dollars account for roughly ten percent of public spending on education, the federal government should have limited involvement in how state and local systems are run, calling the Department of Education’s (ED) ESEA flexibility waivers a violation of the Constitution. Full article

Summer Program in Mathematical Problem Solving Invites Faculty Applications

The Summer Program in Mathematical Problem Solving is seeking instructors for its 2015 session.  The program works to create a realistic pathway for underserved students to become scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and programmers. Faculty design and teach their own courses to bright but underserved middle school students. Courses can be pure math (such as number theory, combinatorics, graph theory, logic, etc.); applied math (such as computer programming, circuit design, astrophysics, genetics, etc.); or problem solving (contest problem solving and general problem solving).

The program will take place at two sites this summer, Bard College and Siena College, both located about 2-3 hours outside New York City. Participating students, all from high-poverty New York City public schools, will be discovering a new environment in these idyllic settings.  All staff must be available July 2-29.  A salary is provided, in addition to food, housing, and transportation.  Please e-mail spmps@artofproblemsolving.org for more information, or visit http://www.artofproblemsolving.org/spmps/.